The Promises of Marriage
January 8, 2010 § 23 Comments
Marriage is difficult. I’d argue with anyone who told me otherwise. It’s a give and take of wants. A constant juggling of priorities. My husband, we’ll call him Harrison, and I have been married for 7 years and have 3 beautiful children (yes, they’ve been a productive 7 years).
Have we fallen out of love? Absolutely. It took a great deal of time and work to get where we are today. I look forward to sharing more of our story on another day. First I’d like to address Jamey’s questions since he’s been so kind to write for my blog.
Friendships. This is an understandable concern. In Harrison’s and my situation, we moved to a new state as newlyweds. We had to start over in the friend department and met other married couples in our same stage of life. As we had children, our friends had children. Our friendships remained intact from those bonding experiences.
With the exception of a select few, I’ll admit, we rarely see or talk to the friends we had before marriage. I doubt it has anything to do with actually getting married, but from our move away from them.
Harrison has a group of guys that he connects with and I have my group of girls. Do we try to do something with the guys and girls every week? No, that’s not a likely scenario. It isn’t feasible from our side, nor our friend’s. There’s no way our schedules could allow such a thing.
Kids. I must like them to have 3. Having children changes everything. I’m not going to lie, Jamey’s fear is absolutely justified on how it will affect his relationship with his future wife. This is where Harrison and I fell out of love. I put the children’s needs before everything else and we slipped into the common role of roommates instead of husband and wife. A great deal of it was ignorance on my part, but we worked on it, and are a stronger couple as a result. I wouldn’t trade that time of difficulty for anything.
I think the best thing about parenting is that nobody is perfect at it. Everybody makes mistakes. We handled our first child with a combined measure of love and fear. It’s an overwhelming thing, comparable to nothing I’ve ever experienced. Do I wish I had more time for other things? Yes. Do I regret having children? Absolutely not.
Making the Wrong Choice. I don’t have a good answer for this. I knew that Harrison was a good man and that I loved him. I thought he’d be a good father. What I didn’t anticipate was not being “in love” with him. I think it’s a common thing if couples don’t actively work to spend time together. We weren’t working on us. When we are, when I put him first and he puts me first, it’s a beautiful thing. Are we always like that? No. Putting each other first is what we strive for. We’re imperfect people in an imperfect world and we will fail each other. Forgiveness is crucial. Communication is huge. Even when we’re mad at each other, the thought of leaving him rips me in two. We really are one flesh, one unit, working together.
At the risk of sounding pretentious and unoriginal, I’d like to quote C.S. Lewis because he says this better than I ever would:
“The idea that ‘being in love’ is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all….What we call ‘being in love’ is a glorious state, and, in several ways, good for us. It helps to make us generous and courageous, it opens our eyes not only to the beauty of the beloved but to all beauty, and it’s subordinates…People say, the state of ‘being in love’ usually does not last…But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense—love as distinct from ‘being in love’– is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”
Marriage is contract to love each other. It was that covenant that kept Harrison and I together. We hadn’t kept our promise. We’d stopped loving each other. I’m positive we’ll have problems in the future, but it’s the promise to each other that keeps us here and it’s definitely worth it.